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The Montel Williams Interview (Page 1 of 3)

An Interview with Montel Williams

MontelMontel Brian Anthony Williams is an Emmy award winning talk show, television actor and producer, motivational speaker, best-selling author, healthcare advocate, Naval intelligence officer and person living with multiple sclerosis. Montel has used his public platform to help find a cure for MS and to shine a light on those living with healthcare challenges. Montel sat down with Editor-in-Chief Gary Barg to discuss his thoughts on life and caregiving.

Gary Barg: We talk all the time about family members becoming what we call “fearless caregivers,” partnering with a loved one’s care team. What advice do you have for family caregivers if they are just not comfortable with the care their loved one is receiving?

Montel Williams: This is something that just blows me out the door and I’ve talked about it in every one of my books. Just because you walk into a doctor’s office and he’s got a shingle hanging on his wall that says doctor or Ph.D. from whatever hospital, you automatically assume that he knows more about everything on this planet than you do, and that’s just not true. If doctors knew so much, none of us would be sick. So, the truth-of-the-matter is doctors need to respect the patient and the patient’s family 100 percent when he gets involved in the process of caring for someone’s life.  I feel very strongly that if a patient doesn’t feel comfortable with their doctor or with the way he’s respecting them, or that family doesn’t feel they are getting the answers to questions they have asked or information that they need, it’s time to change doctors; it’s just that simple.

GB: I always say about being a caregiver, “You can fire the doctor, but they can’t fire you.”

MW: That’s a fact. One of the things I’m really big on is making sure that we take as much responsibility for our own care as we put in the hands of doctors. Right now, the resources are there for us to look up and read and try to understand, and you may not understand every single one of the technical terms that are in a document describing your illness, or the possible treatments for or the probable prognosis, but you can at least get a feel for what they are saying and this is why you should read every single thing you can possibly get your hands on.  I print out what I find so that I can sit down with my doctors and ask them if they’ve heard about this, and they might say, “No, we haven’t” and then they’ll look it up; so now I know I have my doctors working for me, rather than me working for them.

GB: I really enjoyed reading “Climbing Higher.” One of the things I was taken with was the challenges of communicating with your loved ones about living with MS. Was it hard to start these kinds of conversations?

 

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